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Archive for January 23rd, 2010

Moscow’s Amazing Stray Dogs: 35,000 Roam The Russian Capital

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January 23, 2010: Susanne Sternthal / Financial Times – January 16, 2010

Russians can go nutty when it comes to dogs. Consider the incident a few years ago that involved Yulia Romanova, a 22-year-old model. On a winter evening, Romanova was returning with her beloved Staffordshire terrier from a visit to a designer who specialises in kitting out canine Muscovites in the latest fashions. The terrier was sporting a new green camouflage jacket as he walked with his owner through the crowded Mendeleyevskaya metro station. There they encountered Malchik, a black stray who had made the station his home, guarding it against drunks and other dogs. Malchik barked at the pair, defending his territory. But instead of walking away, Romanova reached into her pink rucksack, pulled out a kitchen knife and, in front of rush-hour commuters, stabbed Malchik to death.

Romanova was arrested, tried and underwent a year of psychiatric treatment. Typically for Russia, this horror story was countered by a wellspring of sympathy for Moscow’s strays.

A bronze statue of Malchik, paid for by donations, now stands at the entrance of Mendeleyevskaya station. It has become a symbol for the 35,000 stray dogs that roam Russia’s capital – about 84 dogs per square mile. You see them everywhere. They lie around in the courtyards of apartment complexes, wander near markets and kiosks, and sleep inside metro stations and pedestrian passageways. You can hear them barking and howling at night. And the strays on Moscow’s streets do not look anything like the purebreds preferred by status-conscious Muscovites. They look like a breed apart.

I moved to Moscow with my family last year and was startled to see so many stray dogs. Watching them over time, I realised that, despite some variation in colour – some were black, others yellowish white or russet – they all shared a certain look. They were medium-sized with thick fur, wedge-shaped heads and almond eyes. Their tails were long and their ears erect.

They also acted differently. Every so often, you would see one waiting on a metro platform. When the train pulled up, the dog would step in, scramble up to lie on a seat or sit on the floor if the carriage was crowded, and then exit a few stops later. There is even a website dedicated to the metro stray ( on which passengers post photos and video clips taken with their mobile phones, documenting the ­savviest of the pack using the public transport system like any other Muscovite.

Where did these animals come from? It’s a question Andrei Poyarkov, 56, a biologist specialising in wolves, has dedicated himself to answering…

Link to entire article below…

Written by Steven John Hibbs

January 23, 2010 at 8:11 am

Haitians Dying By Thousands As US Escalates Military Intervention

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January 23, 2010: Bill Van Auken / WSWS – January 22, 2010

Thousands of Haitians are dying every day for lack of medical care and supplies, according to a leading humanitarian aid group. Meanwhile, the Pentagon has announced that it is expanding the US military presence in the country, maintaining Washington’s priority of troops over humanitarian aid.

The US-based medical aid group Partners in Health has warned that as many as 20,000 Haitians may be dying daily due to infections such as gangrene and sepsis that have set in, as the majority of the injured receive no medical care or are treated in facilities that lack the most basic supplies.

“Tens of thousands of earthquake victims need emergency surgical care now!!!,” the organization said in a statement posted on its web site. “The death toll and the incidence of gangrene and other deadly infections will continue to rise unless a massive effort is made to open and staff more operating rooms and to deliver essential equipment and supplies.”

Partners in Health has worked in Haiti for more than 20 years. Its co-founder, Dr. Paul Farmer, is the deputy United Nations envoy to Haiti and a senior professor of public health at Harvard University.

While Haitian officials and other organizations have claimed the Partners in Health figure is too high, it is indisputable that Haiti confronts a disaster that could equal or even eclipse that of the quake itself because of the delays in the provision of health care to hundreds of thousands of sick and injured people.

The New York Times Thursday quoted Dr. Eduardo de Marchena, a University of Miami cardiologist overseeing one field hospital in Haiti, who provided a similarly grim prognosis. “There are still thousands of patients with major fractures, major wounds, that have not been treated yet,” he said. “There are people, many people, who are going to die unless they’re treated.”

As the Times reported, “In the squatter camps now scattered across this capital, there are still people writhing in pain, their injuries bound up by relatives but not yet seen by a doctor eight days after the quake struck. On top of that, the many bodies still in the wreckage increase the risk of diseases spreading, especially, experts say, if there is rain.”

The Wall Street Journal reported that the Port-au-Prince General Hospital is continuously besieged by more than 1,000 patients waiting for surgery. “Armed guards in tanks kept out mobs,” the newspaper reported. It added, “At any given moment, thousands of injured, some grievously, wait outside virtually any hospital or clinic, pleading for treatment.”

CNN’s Karl Penhaul reported from Port-au-Prince General Hospital, where US paratroopers have taken up positions. He said that Haitians questioned why so many US troops were pouring into the country. “They say they need more food and water and fewer guys with guns,” he reported.

He also indicated that American doctors at the hospital seemed mystified by the military presence. “They say there has never been a security problem here at the hospital, but there is a problem of getting supplies in.” He added, “They can get nine helicopters of troops in, but some of the doctors here say if they can do that, then why can’t they also bring with them IV fluids and other much needed supplies.”

The Spanish daily El País quoted one of these American doctors, Jim Warsinguer: “We lack a lot of things, too many for so much time having passed since the earthquake: betadine, bandages, gloves. And, above all, morphine. We have to do amputations without anesthesia. You see them suffer, and it is terrible. The Haitians are very brave, but they are suffering a lot.”

The desperate conditions and lack of sanitation for the estimated 2 million Haitians left homeless by the earthquake threaten to trigger a public health disaster. “The next health risk could include outbreaks of diarrhea, respiratory tract infections and other diseases among hundreds of thousands of Haitians living in overcrowded camps with poor or non-existent sanitation,” said Doctors Without Borders deputy operations manager Greg Elder.

While media reports claim that ever-growing amounts of material aid are coming into the country, reporters on the ground have said that there is still no sign that it is getting into the hands of the overwhelming majority of those who need it.

The British Broadcasting Corporation reported Thursday, “Correspondents say the aid that has thus far arrived at the port is being driven for 45 minutes across the city to the airport, where it is piling up and not being distributed to those who need it.”

The BBC continued, “The US and UN World Food Programme insist the distribution of food and water is well under way, but the BBC’s Adam Mynott in Port-au-Prince says many people have still seen no international relief at all.”

Aid organizations have charged that since establishing its unilateral control over the Port-au-Prince airport and the city’s port facilities, and assuming essential governmental powers in Haiti, the US military has given the beefing up of its presence in the country priority over the provision of aid. Doctors Without Borders, for example, has protested that military air traffic controllers have since January 14 refused permission to land to five of its planes carrying 85 tons of medical supplies.

With the Haitian catastrophe now in its 10th day, it is becoming increasingly clear that the response of the Obama administration and the Pentagon, which have made military occupation of the Caribbean nation its first objective, has deepened the immense suffering of millions of injured, homeless and hungry people.

Link to entire article below…

Latin American Leaders Saying The US Military Is Occupying Haiti!

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January 23, 2010: Press TV – January 22, 2010

Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua say the US is using the international relief operation in Haiti as a cover-up for a military takeover.

Bolivian President Evo Morales said that he will request an emergency UN meeting to reject what he calls the US military occupation of Haiti.

“It’s not right that the United States should use this natural disaster to invade and militarily occupy Haiti,” Morales told a press conference on Wednesday.

“If you have all these problems with the injured and the dead from the earthquake, you have to go there to save lives, and you don’t do that from a military standpoint,” he added.

An outspoken critic of US policies, Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez also had accused Washington of occupying Haiti “under the guise of the natural disaster.”

Nicaragua also has taken a similar stance toward US with respect to the situation in Haiti.

The United States is deploying up to 20,000 troops to Haiti. US servicemen have taken control of the country’s international airport.

The Pentagon has sent one of its biggest aircraft carriers to Haiti, along with other navy and coast guard vessels.

On Friday, Arturo Valenzuela, the US assistant secretary of state for Western hemisphere affairs rejected that the US was occupying Haiti.

“Haiti is a sovereign country, everybody respects Haiti’s sovereign country, the United States respects Haiti’s sovereignty,” said Arturo Valenzuela.

Link to original article below…